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Part: V Getting Back into the Driver's Seat > Desperately Seeking Usability

Chapter 12. Desperately Seeking Usability

The explosion of software-based products into the mass market, in either general-purpose computers or appliances, has transformed the user population. Formerly it was a small group of forgiving, technology-loving implementers. Today it is a teeming multitude of impatient, unhappy, nontechnical consumers. Everyone, both inside and outside of the software industry, has heard the users cry in painful frustration and has felt the pressure to do something. Many specialties have stepped forward, eager and willing to fill the vacuum. All of them have a good story, most of them have bright credentials, and many of them have stellar client lists. Collectively, though, they have produced more heat than light, and their solutions lack for nothing except desirable software-based products. The result has been widespread confusion about how to really solve the problem of unhappy users. In this chapter, I'll try to dispel some of the confusion, showing where each specialization can be most effective and how it can dovetail with Goal-Directed interaction design.


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